It’s hard to believe, but from the first day of office closure to the first day of team training, Farmington Village Dental was shut down for 70 days. Yes, we saw emergency patients during that time (did you see Dr. Krause and Sue on NBC 30?), but those emergencies were sporadic and for the most part the office was officially closed.
In anticipation of our opening I am reflecting upon how I spent those 70 days. In am sure that when we re-open for regular dental care on June 1, someone (thinking they are funny) will ask me how my “vacation” was.
The truth is, during those 70 days, I have never worked harder in my entire life.
It wasn’t a vacation
When it all first began, I spent all day, every day (and often into the night) voraciously reading, researching, and taking webinars all for the sole purpose of educating myself about SARS-CoV-2. In learning about it’s viral properties and it’s transmission I also spent time learning about safety measures that hospitals and healthcare workers in other countries who were ahead of us in their “curves” had implemented. I read countless government documents from the CDC and OSHA only to have them changed again and again and again.** More than once I woke up only to find out that everything I had read about and learned the day before was negated. The feeling of defeat hung heavy on those days.
Quitting was not an option
As time went on, my resilience wore thin but quitting was not an option because the patients count on Farmington Village Dental to be there for them. Quitting was also not an option because the TEAM at Farmington Village Dental counts on the office for their livelihood. There are a lot of scary predictions out there about how many dental offices won’t be open 12-18 months from now. We refuse to be one of them.
As the fog of uncertainty lifted and the safety measures that needed to be implemented became clear, the days were then spent in a massive scavenger hunt. I would be on the phone chasing down leads while Dr. Krause would be scouring the internet (oh yeah, all the while navigating the waters of homeschooling two fourth graders). We were scooping up items like air purifiers, face shields, laundry hampers, and sneeze guards. I watched at least four webinars on the production and use of hypochlorous acid as a natural yet extremely effective way to kill the virus both in the air and on surfaces and the use of an ultra low volume fogger which is used to dispense this seemingly miraculous sanitizer. Dr. Krause spent days rearranging the office, building shelves and moving furniture all to accommodate the plethora of items we would now need.
Those pesky N95 masks
Nothing, however, was as time consuming and emotionally draining as trying to get certain items of personal protective equipment (PPE). Once upon a time, it was simple to order PPE supplies. Back in the “good old days” a simple phone call or the click of a mouse could get items to arrive in a matter of days. Sometimes they would arrive the next day! Suddenly, everything was back-ordered for weeks to months. Those masks we always wore? Those were being rationed even though dentists were encouraged to give them to local hospitals, making it difficult to replenish the supply. Gowns? Simple disposable gowns that used to be a dime a dozen now wouldn’t be delivered for months.
One item in particular, the infamous N95 mask, was just about impossible to find. It was absolutely elusive. There was a point in time that I was convinced that those masks didn’t even exist. I called them “unicorns”. They were nowhere. So, given the guidance of the CDC and OSHA, we ordered an acceptable alternative. We waited weeks for those masks to arrive, and when they finally started to come in it turned out they were no longer be on the “approved” list. Oh, and returns were not accepted. Of course! Remember what I said about things changing day to day?
It all worked out in the end
In the end, I am happy to say that we did get our masks and everything else we need to open safely. The bonus is, we didn’t have to meet someone in a dark ally at midnight to do it. (There were times when getting these masks felt like an illicit drug deal!). When you watch the news and they talk about how scarce PPE is, believe them. It’s actually worse than what they’re telling you.
Meanwhile, the law of supply and demand is in full effect out there in the PPE world. N95 masks used to be around $1.30 each. They are now being sold for up to $12.00 each. Hopefully the supply chain catches up soon.
Check out our journey!
Besides scouring for information and PPE we also had a little fun over the 70 days we were shut down. Check out this social media post:
We have also been having fun with video. Check out our epic movie trailer:
Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook to see everything we have been up to. Stay tuned because soon we will be putting up a video of what dental appointments in the era of COVID-19 will look like.
We can’t wait to see all of you in the office soon. Stay safe, everyone!
** Ironically, on the morning I go to publish this, the CDC changed it’s guidance again last night. LOL! This is the life now. 🙂